Monday, May 16, 2011

Some thoughts on the Dominique Strauss-Kahn scandal

Say you are a 32-year old maid working at a swank hotel in New York city, the kind where suites cost $3000 a night. It's just an ordinary day and you knock on a suite sometime around noon for cleaning. You wait but no one responds. Naturally you use your master key to enter.

Let us pose a few scenarios to try to guess what happens next:

A) The guest is out having lunch at a fancy place. You clean up and move to other rooms.
B) The guest is in the balcony enjoying the sights and sounds. You murmur a soft apology for barging in, but the guest heartily tells you it's OK. You clean up and move to other rooms.
C) The guest rushes toward you in his birthday suit from the bathroom and manhandles you. You bravely fight his aggressive overtures and overcome the shock of seeing his 62-year body in the birthday suit and report him.

If you answered C) you deserve a Klondike bar. This is, mas o menos, what happened with international banker and potential French presidential candidate Dominique Strauss-Kahn yesterday, according to the hotel maid (whose identity has not been disclosed, wisely).

Strauss-Kahn, or DSK as he is commonly known, is was the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), a global monetary institute that sort of helps out developing countries with loans and stuff.

According to the official version of the events, DSK fled the upscale hotel in haste and boarded an Air France flight from JFK to Paris. Meanwhile, the maid complained about the sexual assault and New York's  finest got to work. Since the airport is under the jurisdiction of an entity called the New Jersey and New York Port Authority, they were notified about the incident by the Special Victims Unit (yeah, the one whose exploits have been all over the Law and Order TV show).  

By this time DSK was sitting in first class waiting for the jet to depart. Port Authority badasses boarded the plane and took him away for questioning. TEN MINUTES before it was scheduled to take off. Within four hours of the alleged incident happening, DSK was chillin' in a Manhattan holding cell, awaiting a police lineup (where he was subsequently identified by his accuser), a string of medical tests, and eventual arraignment in court.

DSK on the walk of shame. Note the dude in the back smirking []

As of this writing, he was denied bail by the judge. He has been charged with rape and other serious crimes. His lawyer is some hotshot who represented noted gun idiot Plaxico Burress and P. Diddy. CNN tells me he has also represented mafiosos Vincent "The Chin" Chingate and Sammy "The Bull" Gravano. Yeah, a character straight outta John Grisham novels, this one.

The reason I am spending so much time writing this is the larger implications of this high-profile case. Here you have someone who is, by all accounts, one of the most powerful people in the world, accused of one of the most heinous crimes. What is more troubling is that he has a long history of engaging in such despicable behavior. They call him "great seducer" over there in France for his womanizing ways. Only a few years back he was investigated for possibly abusing his power to have sex with his subordinates. And he was all but ready to plunge into the French presidential race as the leader of the Socialist party.

Which brings us to this very important query: what kind of a socialist spends $3000 on a freakin' hotel suite and more then $7000 on a plane ticket? That's not all. This guy has been photographed driving around in eye-poppingly gorgeous Porsches and maintains apartments all over France.

The French reaction has been split. Most view him as a disgrace to the national honor. They are happy that this man was arrested in a country like America because they believe this would not have been possible in France. The higher ups would have stifled the story and let him off the hook. This sounds like the sane camp.

The insane-idiotic axis, on other hand, is positing that this is a some grand setup orchestrated by the sitting French president Sarkozy to discredit his rival. Hmm, let me think about this for one nanosecond. How about a big fat NO the size of the Eiffel Tower? Do you think the NYPD takes orders from Sarkozy? Do you think they give a rat's ass about stirring up a pot (the French political scene) that is already quite murky and confusing?

The morons are also shocked at pictures of him being shuffled around by detectives. Inhumane and humiliating. Oh yeah? You want us to rent limos for perps next time? Sheesh. 

Here is my take on all this: I have no doubt this man was capable of committing such deeds. Judging by his past history, he is definitely someone who fits the mold. More importantly, however, the stunning nature of his arrest makes me pause. It is highly unlikely the police would board a jet ten minutes before takeoff to arrest a very influential and powerful man without a reasonable amount of certainty. They must have found the victim's account to contain enough merit to warrant such bold, swift steps.

Let us all be glad we live in a country where the law is so efficient and undiscriminating. Sure our system has its flaws and problems, but this is a pretty friggin significant event, almost impossible in most countries in the world.

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