Cain’s non-denial denial

Here is Herman Cain’s initial statement about an Atlanta woman’s contention that she has had an ongoing affair with him:

“Mr. Cain has been informed today that your television station plans to broadcast a story this evening in which a female will make an accusation that she engaged in a 13-year long physical relationship with Mr. Cain. This is not an accusation of harassment in the workplace – this is not an accusation of an assault – which are subject matters of legitimate inquiry to a political candidate.

Rather, this appears to be an accusation of private, alleged consensual conduct between adults – a subject matter which is not a proper subject of inquiry by the media or the public. No individual, whether a private citizen, a candidate for public office or a public official, should be questioned about his or her private sexual life. The public’s right to know and the media’s right to report has boundaries and most certainly those boundaries end outside of one’s bedroom door.

Mr. Cain has alerted his wife to this new accusation and discussed it with her. He has no obligation to discuss these types of accusations publicly with the media and he will not do so even if his principled position is viewed unfavorably by members of the media.”

via The PJ Tatler » Atlanta Woman Alleges 13-Year Affair with Herman Cain (Update: Cain Issues Second Statement).

What is missing in this statement?  (Hint:  Does he say it isn’t true?)

In subsequent statements, Cain has come closer to a denial, referring to “events that never happened” and “I did nothing wrong.”  But I’m not sure those are out-and-out denials either.

One might argue that consensual relationships should be private and have nothing to do with a person’s fitness to hold public office.  But Cain is a married man.

Some of you Cainites  (Cainanites?) rejected the earlier accusations of sexual harassment against him.  Is this any different?  Are you still supporting him?

Child abuse, firings, and riots at Penn State

In the aftermath of the child sexual abuse perpetrated by football coach Jerry Sandusky, Penn State fired both legendary head coach Joe Paterno AND the college president Graham Spanier.  Whereupon students went on a riot:

Happy Valley was in bedlam early today as angry, chanting students ran amok in a bizarre climax to an unforgettable day that ended with the unthinkable: the firing of football legend Joe Paterno.

Chanting “Joe Pa-ter-no!” and “One More Game!” students raced to the stately Old Main administration building to express their anger that the winningest coach in major-college football history was out – fallout from the child-sex scandal involving his former top assistant, Jerry Sandusky.

More than 1,000 students rioted and rallied at Old Main and on frat-house-lined Beaver Avenue. Riot cops, fire trucks and ambulances were on hand after midnight, amid reports that tear gas was being used to disperse the crowd.

Demonstrators overturned a TV news van, toppled street lights, shook stop signs and threw toilet paper. From rooftops and in the streets, they yelled “F— Sandusky!” and “We Want JoePa!”

The campus chaos began shortly after 10 p.m. with the announcement by the board of trustees that Paterno, 84, who had said earlier in the day that he would retire at the end of the season, was instead fired over the phone and denied a chance to end his career on the playing field.

The trustees also accepted a letter of resignation from longtime president Graham Spanier, who was making $800,000 a year at the end of a 16-year run in which he’d raised the academic profile of the state’s largest academic institution.

As for reports of campus unrest at Paterno’s ouster, John Surma, vice chairman of the board of trustees, said he hoped everyone would realize that the board’s action was for the best: “Because of the difficulties that engulfed our university – and they are grave – it was necessary to make a change in leadership.”

It was the shock-and-awe conclusion to a day of bombshells that made Penn State’s hometown feel less like a bucolic mountainside oasis of pigskin-flavored academia and more like a foreign capital in the throes of revolution.

via Bedlam erupts on Penn State campus | Philadelphia Daily News | 11/10/2011.

From this news report, it appears that some of the students were rioting in support of Paterno, while others may have been rioting over the sexual abuse.  So people with opposite causes were rioting together.  How monstrous this all is.

The fall of Citizen Cain?

A woman, Sharon Bialek, has come forward with details about how  Herman Cain, currently running for president, groped her.  She is not even one of the three women who filed sexual harassment claims against him and won settlements from the National Restaurant Association that he headed at the time. Here are the sordid details.

Some conservatives are skeptical about the charges, while others think they ring true.  Here is what the conservative blogger the Ace of Spades had to say:

Sorry, I’m now kind of convinced of his guilt. He’s trying to change the subject.

Not reassuring.

While he attempts to hoodwink you into thinking this is some principled stance, what I see is a guy who does not want to deny specific details (did he meet with Bialek? Did he upgrade her hotel room? Did the meeting end on a positive note or a negative one and if negative, why? ), because I see a guy who is worried that his specific denials will be proven false in turn.

So he keeps to the general. The vague. Even while he says he will not refer to his accusers’ “vague” or “nonspecific” allegations, he ignores the specific and very un-vague ones, and will only offer “vague” and “nonspecific” demurrals in turn.

And what he’s counting on is that the conservative movement is so dumb that it will elect him as a nominee without every figuring out what the damage and downside here will be, and you know what? There’s a good chance he’s right.

We have become pretty dumb. We’re so damned eager to believe we seem to have forgotten that skepticism is pretty useful.

And yes, skepticism on both sides, not skepticism only towards his four accusers, while taking a completely unskeptical, believer-ish posture to whatever Cain says.

Guy can’t even bother to tell me what Bialek said was false. He won’t even say that. He writes a general slam of the media and expects the reader to conveniently read a denial in between the lines, despite it never actually being offered up.

We have a live, on-the-record accuser, who says Cain groped her vagina.

On the other hand, we have Cain, who… refuses to say whether he touched her inappropriately or not. . . .

So, it’s not a he said/she said anymore; it’s a she said/he refuses to say and changes the topic.

via Ace of Spades HQ.

Is Cain finished?

Isn’t it at least encouraging that for all of our culture’s sexual permissiveness that charges like this one are still damaging?

Cain’s sexual harrassment charges

A third woman accuses Herman Cain of sexual harrassment:

A third former employee considered filing a workplace complaint against Herman Cain over what she considered aggressive and unwanted behavior when she and Cain, now a Republican presidential candidate, worked together during the late 1990s, the woman told The Associated Press on Wednesday. She said the behavior including a private invitation to his corporate apartment.

The woman said he made sexually suggestive remarks or gestures about the same time that two co-workers had settled separate harassment complaints against Cain, who was then the head of the National Restaurant Association.

She did not file a formal complaint because she began having fewer interactions with Cain, she said. Afterward, she learned that a co-worker — one of the two women whose accusations have rocked Cain’s campaign this week — had already done so. She said she would have had to file if they hadn’t.

The woman spoke only on condition of anonymity, saying she feared retaliation. She was located and approached by the AP as part of its investigation into harassment complaints against Cain that were disclosed in recent days and have thrown his presidential campaign into turmoil. She said she was reluctant to describe the encounters she had with Cain when they worked together at the Washington-based restaurant trade group.

via Third Former Cain Employee Claims She Was Harassed by GOP Candidate « CBS Washington.

Keeping in mind that we don’t really know what happened, do you think these charges will–and should–sink Cain’s campaign for president?  Does the fact that this information was not made public until Cain attained front-runner status constitute “high tech lynching” or “the politics of personal destruction”?  Or do you believe that voters need to know this kind of information before casting their vote?

At any rate, here is a lesson for would-be candidates, including ambitious young people with a FaceBook page used to chronicling their every transgression and posting pictures about it:   With today’s “opposition research” as part of virtually every modern political campaign, candidates need to realize that any skeleton in their closet–anything they did wrong in public or anything they did that would be embarrassing–is going to come out.

Divorce without marriage

As the number of co-habiting couples skyrockets, a new legal problem has come to the fore:   What to do when the couples split up?  From an article in the Washington Post:

A study by the Pew Research Center found that 39 percent of Americans think marriage is becoming obsolete. But it still takes a marriage (or some other legally binding agreement) to get a divorce. And as the number of couples choosing to live together rather than marry has increased drastically, so have the spats over their splits. The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers found that almost half of its 1,600 members are seeing an increase in court battles between cohabiting couples. Nearly 40 percent of those lawyers said they’ve seen an increase in demand for cohabitation agreements — the equivalent of a prenup, sans wedding ring.

“It’s pretty heartbreaking,” Luxenberg says. “People don’t have rights unless they have the title — their name is on a piece of property or a bank account or something like that.”

Luxenberg recalls one client who lived with her partner for 20 years. They’d had a child and built a home together. The woman’s income was about $50,000, Luxenberg says, and her boyfriend’s was “six or seven times that.” When the couple split, the woman hired Luxenberg to see what recourse she had. The answer: not much.

There would be child support, “but she didn’t get any of his pension benefits or any of his profit sharing. And she wasn’t going to get alimony,” Luxenberg says. “I don’t think people think about those kinds of issues.” . . .

A recent census report found that 7.5 million heterosexual couples lived together in 2010, up 13 percent from 2009. The report suggests that some of the shift may be attributed to the economy — more couples than in the previous year reported at least one party being unemployed. (An Onion TV headline put it this way: “Nation’s Girlfriends Unveil New Economic Plan: ‘Let’s Move In Together.’ ”)

The numbers have been climbing over the past decade as cohabitation has become more socially acceptable.

Brad Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project, an organization that promotes marriage, worries about the effect this has on children.

The good news, he says, is that divorces among parents with children have returned to levels not seen since the 1960s. Of couples who married in the early 1960s, 23 percent divorced before their first child turned 10. The rate peaked at slightly more than 27 percent in the late 1970s. By the mid-1990s, the rate dropped to just above 23 percent.

But a recent report Wilcox wrote, titled “Why Marriage Matters,” concludes that American families are less stable overall, in large part because couples are choosing cohabitation over marriage. Today, 24 percent of U.S. children are born to cohabiting couples, according to the report, and an additional 20 percent will live in a cohabiting household at some point in their childhood.

And 65 percent of children born to cohabiting parents will experience a parental breakup by the time they turn 12, compared with 24 percent of kids born to married parents.

“The more commitment people have to a relationship, typically the better they’ll do, the happier they are,” Wilson says.

This generation’s preference for cohabitation, he adds, may be a backlash against their parents’ propensity for divorce. But not getting married doesn’t protect couples who live together from heartache when the relationship falls apart.

The article goes on to give a number of sad stories.  But isn’t the point of just living together instead of getting married so that no one gets “tied down”?  Don’t a lot of people avoid getting married precisely so as to free themselves from the cost of divorce, alimony, sharing of assets, and the like?   If a couple isn’t married, what claim can they possibly have on each other’s property?   I don’t see how cohabiting couples have any grounds for complaining.  Of course the relationship isn’t permanent.  Of course you don’t have any kind of legal ties.  I thought that was the point!

Maybe we could restore the time-honored option of common law marriage.  If you live together for longer than a specified time, then you are married, whether you have a ceremony or whether you want to be or not, with all of the rights and responsibilities thereof!

HT:  Frank Sonnek

No more congressional pages

When I was a youth, back in the olden days, I got to serve as a page in the Oklahoma state legislature.  It filled me with awe, getting to be on the floor of where laws were made, carrying messages for congressmen when they signaled to the row of us sitting in front and bringing them coffee.  It was a great civic experience.

But now the House of Representatives of the United States of America has canceled its 200-year program, in which some 70 young people come to Washington to serve and to learn as congressional pages.   Congressional leaders who made the decision cite the cost.  $5 million.  But since when does Congress care about that kind of chump change?

I suspect the real reason is the difficulty of safeguarding the pages against the sexual predators in Congress.  Think Reps. Gerry Studds (D-Mass.),   Dan Crane (R-Ill.), and Mark Foley (R-Florida), all of whom were caught in sex scandals with pages.  Better to protect Congressmen than to protect the pages.

How far I have fallen from the respect for lawmakers that I had when I was a page!

 

See End of House Page Program is bittersweet for some lawmakers – The Washington Post.

Normalizing “minor-attracted persons”

First we accept homosexuality, some social conservatives said, and next we’ll accept pedophilia.  If we legalize gay marriage, they said, next we’ll have legalize polygamy.  “Nonsense!” came the reply.  “You’re committing the slippery slope fallacy.”  Well, we are slipping and sliding on that same slippery slope.  That’s the point made by  Joe Carter, who analyzes the latest effort to de-stigmatize pedophilia; that is, to use a more politically-correct term “minor-attracted persons.”

If a small group of psychiatrists and other mental health professionals have their way at a conference this week, pedophiles themselves could play a role in removing pedophilia from the American Psychiatric Association’s bible of mental illnesses — the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), set to undergo a significant revision by 2013. Critics warn that their success could lead to the decriminalization of pedophilia.

The August 17 Baltimore conference is sponsored by B4U-ACT, a group of pro-pedophile mental health professionals and sympathetic activists. According to the conference brochure, the event will examine “ways in which minor-attracted persons [pedophiles] can be involved in the DSM 5 revision process” and how the popular perceptions of pedophiles can be reframed to encourage tolerance.

Researchers from Harvard University, the Johns Hopkins University, the University of Louisville, and the University of Illinois will be among the panelists at the conference.

B4U-ACT has been active attacking the APA’s definition of pedophilia in the run up to the conference, denouncing its description of “minor-attracted persons” as “inaccurate” and “misleading” because the current DSM links pedophilia with criminality.

“It is based on data from prison studies, which completely ignore the existence of those who are law-abiding,” said Howard Kline, science director of B4U-ACT, in a July 25, 2011 press release. “The proposed new diagnostic criteria specify ages and frequencies with no scientific basis whatsoever.” . . .

Berlin has similarly compared society’s reaction to pedophilia to that of homosexuality prior to the landmark 2003 Lawrence v. Texas decision that decriminalized sodomy.

B4U-ACT’s own website puts Berlin’s views front and center. “Just as has been the case historically with homosexuality,” he writes, “society is currently addressing the matter of pedophilia with a balance that is far more heavily weighted on the side of criminal justice solutions than on the side of mental health solutions.”

via Normalizing Pedophilia | Conference | Mental Illness | The Daily Caller.

Stayover relationships

Living together out of wedlock is still something like marriage.  Too much like it, apparently for an increasing number of couples today.  The latest trend sees living together as too much of a commitment, as too permanent.   So cohabitation is giving way to “stayover relationships”:

More couples in long-term relationships are choosing to stay over a few nights per week at each other’s home instead of cohabitating, a university study has concluded.

University of Missouri PhD student Tyler Jamison conducted the study that found the growing trend among college-educated men and women in their 20s.

The appeal of these “stayover” relationships for young couples is keeping their independence and staying away from the big commitment that living together brings. Couples who live together and break up have to deal with apartment leases, shared household items, and other things that automatically bond people who live together. Men and women in their 20s are in transitional times in their lives and many do not want to be tied down to commitments in their personal lives.

Some participants in the study said they had no interest in ever cohabitating in a romantic relationship outside of marriage, but do engage in stayover relationships. Some couples even stay over at their significant other’s house seven nights a week, but maintain their own residence. They cited that if they can go home or tell the other person to go home, they are not cohabitating.

via Study: Young Couples Stay Over Rather than Cohabitate  | SmartAboutHealth.Net.

Bishop tells gay priests they have to get married

Now that New York state has legalized gay marriage, the Right Reverend Lawrence C. Provenzano, Bishop of Long Island in the Episcopalian church, is requiring homosexual priests to either get married or stop living together out of wedlock.  From his official pronouncement:

For the gay and lesbian clergy of this Diocese who are living in domestic partnerships or civil unions, I hereby grant a grace period of nine months from the effective date of the New York State Law permitting same-gender marriages for those relationships to be regularized either by the exchange of vows in marriage or the living apart of said couples.  I deem it to be honest and fair, and I do so direct and require, now that it is legal, that only married couples may live together, either in rectories or elsewhere as a clergy couple living in the midst of our faith community.

via Episcopal Diocese of Long Island.

I know this sudden concern for sexual morality is being derided by many conservatives.  But it will be telling to see if homosexuals who now have the right to get married will now take marriage seriously by opposing extra-marital sex.

Islam & concubines

A Muslim woman is calling for the legalization of sex slavery–which she describes as the temporary marriage of concubines–on the grounds that Islam permits it and that it is a cure for adultery.  From the International Business Times:

Sex slaves are OK in Islam, according to a former candidate for the Kuwaiti parliament, who is advocating for the legalization of sex slavery. . . .

In a video posted on YouTube earlier this year [see below], Salwa Al-Mutairi proclaimed that a sex slave trade would prevent Kuwait’s Muslim men from extramarital sexual activity, explaining that a purchase transaction for a sex partner would be tantamount to marriage.

“We want our youth to be protected from adultery,” she said.

Mutairi claimed that on a recent trip to Mecca, she spoke with several muftis, or Muslim religious scholars, who believe that there is a basis for the purchase of concubines in the shariah, or Islamic holy law.

She gave the example of Haroun al-Rashid, the third caliph or head of state of the Islamic Abbasid Empire, is rumored to have had some 2,000 concubines.

Appropriate candidates for the sex trade would be Muslim women from war-torn countries like Chechnya, Mutairi suggested.

In an earlier post, we talked about “living together” as a kind of revival of concubinage; that is, “marriage lite.” Islam apparently has a specific provision for it. The description of the “purchase transaction” is also something we blogged about: The woman is paid a sum, which is construed as a bride price. The man says something like, “I marry you.” Then, after having sex, he says, “I divorce you.” Given the acceptability in Islam of polygamy, that is all anyone needs for valid marriages and divorces. Thus we have prostitution without adultery, all of which is religiously-sanctioned and oh-so-moral.

This may be the perfect religion for our time: One that is legalistic–giving the pleasure of self-righteousness–while also, at the same time, allowing immorality! How can Christianity compete against that?

HT: Mary