Thursday, November 3, 2011

Trick or Treat, Mr. Cain

How fitting for the media to stage its first Republican lynching this political season over the Halloween weekend by revealing skeletons in Herman Cain's closet.

As No-wife said this evening, they must be really scared of him.

Who'd have thunk it?  The straight-shooting man with the engaging smile is apparently a lothario.  Or was.  Or, so suggest reports that he sexually harassed two women in the 1990s.  Or, was it three, or more?

One of the accusers who settled with the National Restaraunt Association that Cain headed wants to step forth and speak out candidly, now that she has let herself be used anonymously to smear him and he has had the temerity to defend himself.  Or, maybe she doesn't.  
A person close to the situation said Wednesday that no decision has been made about asking the National Restaurant Association to release the woman from a confidentiality agreement that was part of her settlement. Cain led the trade group while the woman worked there. 
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the accusations and says the fact that the incident has become public is very unsettling to the woman.
Noman can imagine how he feels.  Whether or not she is released from her confidentiality agreement--the condition of her receipt of a modest sum in order to drop the matter and go away--Cain's reputation has been tarred and feathered.

Sexual harassment settlements are a commonplace feature of the contemporary American business scene.
Extreme care is always taken when terminating an employee that is a member of a protected class. Protected classes include women, anyone who can claim a disability, anyone over 40, and anyone who is not Caucasian. 
Claims of sexual harassment by an employee about to be terminated are the easiest to make, the most difficult to refute, the most expensive to defend, and the most damaging to any executive on the receiving end of false charges. Hence, settling these charges, even when blatantly false, with a small payment and a mutual confidentiality and non-disparagement agreement is an everyday occurrence in the corporate world.
The Politico story made a great deal of the fact that the separation agreement given to the two accusers entailed a payment in the “five-figure” range. Having approved many of these agreements myself I can tell you that five-figures is what you pay when the separation is amicable, as it is a bargain compared to defending false charges in litigation... The going rate to cover up guilt is at least six figures, sometimes even seven. Just ask former presidential candidate John Edwards. 
Insinuations that five-figure payments somehow corroborate the truth of accusations are an extreme act of reckless journalism. Or worse, they are not journalism at all but, rather, classic dirty campaign politics. Who can forget the story of one of Lyndon Johnson’s early Congressional campaigns in which he spread the rumor that his opponent had sexual relations with barnyard animals. “It couldn’t possibly be true!” a staffer complained. “I know,” said Lyndon, “but let’s make the bastard deny it.”
Cain is campaigning to re-write the tax code, reform government, take on better heeled and more experienced opponents, and shake up the Left's monopoly on minorities' fealty.

The media prefers to focus on more substantive issues such as whether he is a black man with an overactive libido, a sort of manicured Eldridge Cleaver.  They want to make the bastard deny it.

One of the accusers is a spokeswoman for various federal agencies.  The other works as a registered lobbyist in New Jersey.  That is, they are both handsomely paid, establishment Lefties with vested interests in Statist governance.  That doesn't address their veracity.  But, it does contextualize their roles in the smear.

Is any man safe from accusations by political women--or women being used by political men to eliminate adversaries--who may have felt uncomfortable with something he has said, gestured or expressed on his face at one time or another?  Is there any man safe from the accusation that he had made a woman uncomfortable, even if he hadn't?  The questions are rhetorical, as every American man, and woman, knows that the answer is "no."

The legal standard is that of the reasonable woman.  To articulate it--that which would make the reasonable woman uncomfortable--suffices to highlight the eggshell sensitivity under which men labor in today's professional world.

Reports have now surfaced of an Iowa radio host accusing Cain of making inappropriate remarks to station employees.
Pressed about what exactly Cain said to the employees of his show, Deace responded by describing how he himself treats his staff. 
"Many a man has been done in by the inability to control his urges,” Deace wrote. “I am no different and just as vulnerable as any other man, which is why I put safeguards around me and hold myself accountable to my wife and other men in my life. Especially since I have very talented employees that happen to be women. I go out of my way to treat them like my sisters. For example, I wouldn't tell them or any other woman I am not married to nor related to how pretty she is."
That's all prudent advice by Deace.  And Noman is sure that Cain, and every man, wishes that he'd lived by it every moment of his under-the-microscope life.

In these matters, in our world, sinless, platonic perfection is the standard that men (not women) are ironically held to.  Neither are the mercy of God, reconciliation through sacraments, nor credit for reform available to him.

The worst motives are imputed to the most innocent of actions, and attributed to a man's innermost heart as a frozen testimony to his perpetual depravity.

A sixth sense for perceiving these things is even routinely and unquestioningly attributed to women, as if they are immune from the distortions of vanity, self-delusion, confused feelings, bitterness, or mere human fallibility.

Paradoxically, the motives so evidenced have been preached for decades as being the normal, natural and healthy response to interactions with the opposite sex, which only a repressed troglodyte would resist or deny.

On the substance of the allegations against Cain--motioning to a woman's height, flattering her looks, and inviting her into his apartment--it sounds pretty serious to Noman, much more so than a credible allegation of rape.

Expressing admiration for a woman's beauty is right up there with intoning "long dong silver."

Moreover, Noman cannot understand how Cain might have gotten the idea that it was acceptable to make advances to a woman--if that is what he did--during the Clinton 90's.

True, Gloria Steinem did articulate the "one free grope" rule in the Op-ed pages of the New York Times.  But, that's no excuse for letting a woman know that she's attractive.

Noman recalls media reluctance to address any of these issues--in contradistinction to its present gusto--during President Clinton's perjury-littered performance in 1998 and 1999.

Michael Issikof's original story on Monica Lewinsky was spiked by Newsweek and only saw the light of day because Matt Drudge got wind of it and posted it on the fledgling

Juanita Broaddrick's exclusive pre-impeachment-vote interview about the rape was shelved rather than rushed onto the tube by NBC at a precarious time for the Democratic President.
Had NBC aired the interview during the Senate impeachment trial and the furor over Monica S. Lewinsky, it might have had a significant impact on the political climate. Whether the story has any lasting significance now, outside the context of any legal or impeachment proceeding, is unclear. NBC executives say the Myers report needed further checking and corroboration before it could be broadcast. 
Broaddrick told NBC she considered coming forward last year, after Kathleen E. Willey accused the president of groping her in the Oval Office. But, she said, "I just wasn't brave enough to do it."
Dabbing at her eye with a tissue, Broaddrick said she agreed to go on camera because "I just couldn't hold it in any longer." She said she did not want her grandchildren to ask: "Why didn't you tell what this man did to you?" 
NBC interviewed four friends who say Broaddrick told them about the alleged assault soon afterward, including Norma Kelsey, who said she saw Broaddrick's swollen lip and torn pantyhose that day. 
Broaddrick said she is pursuing no book deal or lawsuit, but that "all of these stories are floating around . . . and I was tired of everybody putting their own spin on it." 
Myers asked: "What is the purpose? Do you want to destroy the president?" 
"No, I don't want to do anything," Broaddrick said. "I do not have an agenda. I want to put all of these rumors to rest."
David P. Schippers, chief investigator for the House Judiciary Committee Republicans during the impeachment proceedings, said Tuesday that his staffers interviewed Broaddrick more than once and "have assured me that she is the most credible witness that either one of them have ever talked to."
A final caution is in order about getting swept up into Cain's alleged hormonal lapses.  This year's sexual assault drama involving Dominique Strauss-Kahn, a man for whom Noman makes no brief, is instructive.

For the accuser, Nafissatou Diallo, a 33-year-old Guinean immigrant, the result caps a precipitous fall. Prosecutors initially portrayed her as a credible and powerful witness, but then said that her myriad lies about her past — including a convincing, emotional but ultimately fraudulent account of being gang-raped by soldiers in Guinea — ended up undermining the case.
So, Naffissatou Diallo is a convincing and emotional fraud, and a repeated liar.  She is also a calculating woman as evidenced by her strategizing with a convict (whose money she holds in trust) about how to best take advantage of her sexual encounter with a famous man.

Behold, the victim.  Unless Diallo is one of a kind, there is much to consider, and regret, about Pavlovian social responses to salacious accusations.
But, at the end of June 2011, prosecutors said they no longer believed much of what she had told them about her circumstances or about herself. Since her initial allegation in May, Ms. Diallo had repeatedly lied, officials said. Within a day of the incident, she was recorded discussing the possible benefits of the case with an incarcerated man who was part of a group that had deposited about $100,000 in bank accounts controlled by the accuser. But Ms. Diallo's lawyer said translations of the taped conversations, two of them made a day after the encounter, misquoted his client. She had no intention of exploiting the charges against Mr. Strauss-Kahn to make money, he said.

Of course not.  And, ACORN had no intention of applying for $4.2 billion in Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) funds made available in 2009's stimulus bill.

The tawdry subject of sexual impropriety reminds Noman of a debate at Harvard Law School circa 1991 in which the evolving standards of evidence in sexual harassment cases were the topic of discussion.

Alan Dershowitz argued against the feminist position, which was guilty until proven innocent: an inversion of the traditional presumption of innocence, one of the keystone safeguards of liberty in America.

At one point in the debate, he leaned forward conspiratorially and said that he would explain why the proposals being discussed--and which were eventually adopted--were a very bad idea.

You could have heard a pin drop when he vituperated: "Women lie."

It was more than an inconvenient truth.  It was a politically incorrect one for which he was not to be forgiven.

Noman doesn't recall ever feeling a more palpable sensation of laser-focused hatred than that directed at Dershowitz by the overwhelmingly female, nearly exclusively feminist audience at that moment.

The problem in Cain's case, which is simply too politically convenient for the Left, is that Leftists also lie: not exclusively, but habitually and without pang of conscience or restraint by principle.

It bears repeating that Chapter 2 of Saul Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals"--the bible of the community organizing left--is entitled "Of Means and Ends."

The classical, philosophically-realist position on the matter is that the end does not justify the means.  Some means are legitimate.  Some means are always and everywhere unjustifiable by virtue of their being intrinsically, objectively evil.  Illicit means vitiate otherwise moral ends and action.  They can never be sanitized by putatively noble ends.

Thus, one cannot resort to murder, or slander, in order to achieve a desirable end because, by their moral object, these means are always and everywhere morally wrong.  The overall action would be immoral.

Not so, teaches Alinsky.
That perennial question, "Does the end justify the means?" is meaningless as it stands; the real and only question regarding the ethics of means and ends is, and always has been, "Does this particular end justify this particular means?"
 Life and how you live it is the story of means and ends...Whenever we think about social change, the question of means and ends arises.  The man of action views the issue of means and ends in pragmatic and strategic terms.  He has no other problem...  He asks of ends only whether they are achievable and worth the cost; of means, only whether they will work.  To say that corrupt means corrupt the ends is to believe in the immaculate conception of ends and principles.
The practical revolutionary will understand Goethe's "conscience is the virtue of observers and not of agents of action"; in action, one does not always enjoy the luxury of a decision that is consistent both with one's individual conscience and good of mankind.  The choice must always be for the latter.  Action is for mass salvation and not for the individual's personal salvation.  He who sacrifices the mass good for his personal conscience has a peculiar conception of "personal salvation; he doesn't care enough for people to be 'corrupted' for them.
Therein lie so many problems with contemporary American politics.

First, it is folly, and dangerous folly at that, to seek salvation from political action.  Salvation in this world is achieved by the transformative affect of hope in the next, and faith in God, not by hope in the utopia following political (or technological) revolution. We should all know after the fall of communism that the latter path is a Marxist chimera rather than a guide to sane action.

Second, Alinsky does not address the "immaculate conception" of means, ends and principles other than to appropriate a Catholic religious doctrine and sneer at it.  Rather, he merely addresses the pragmatic and strategic value--not ontological and ethical value--of means and ends.  Because of the primacy of his ends--the good of mankind, mass salvation--he is willing (heroically, to his mind) to be corrupted (Alinsky's term) by using foul means.

He can deny that such a thing as objectively foul means exists, and Alinsky does, though he is willing to risk personal corruption to demonstrate his care for people in the event that he is wrong.  His blitheness indicates his ignorance about the gravity of ethics.

He can no more avoid the affect on his character, his co-nature, of evil means' use than he can avoid the affect of gravity on his body when stepping off a ledge.  Denying it won't preserve him from the dire consequences.

Once man is personally corrupted, how is he to know that his ends are worthy, or that he perceives reality correctly, or that it is care for people and the good of mankind that is driving him?  How does he know that he's not merely fooling himself, or brain-washed, or acting under the influence of self-righteousness or -assertion?

He doesn't.  He is just corrupt, a malfunctioning perceiver of reality.

Third, how can one ever trust a man who is not willing to be bound in his actions by adherence to objective reality?  He can justify any action to himself as a necessary means to his ends: sabotage, slander, false accusations, fomenting violence, you name it.

One cannot, which is why the President and his Party are in political trouble.  They are self-identified opportunists who will say and do anything to achieve their political ends.  Such men are not trustworthy.

Therein, too, lies the problem with the insinuations leveled against Cain.  They come from the side of the political aisle--Rahm Emanuel, Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton's side, the Chicago side--that engages in this type of muck-raking without either qualm of conscience or commitment to truth.

It is all just hardball politics and cost-benefit analysis to them.  And, when the media is your ally, indeed your alter ego, there are never any significant political costs to constrain action.  No tactic is too low, too costly to engage in.

Herman Cain has some soul searching to do about the way he treats women, or treated them in the past.  He would do well to review a number of instructive articles published during the Monica nightmare highlighting the pitfalls to powerful men of breathless, admiring, doe-eyed vixens drawn to power and wealth as metal is to a magnet.

Should Cain shake off the media's body block to his political aspirations, and win nomination and election to the Presidency, he will face these demons again.  Better to repudiate them now, to erect safeguards, and to hold himself accountable to a higher standard of behavior than he is alleged to have done before.  Whether guilty or not, that would be a positive good to come from this slime job.

Noman wishes him the best of luck.  We are all only human.  And, that predicament  weighs more heavily, and unevenly, on men than on women these days, as it most probably always will on Republicans than on Democrats, and Conservatives than on Liberals.

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